Harvesting facts and figures on farming

Continuing the theme from last month’s article, I thought I would share with you some more farm policy facts.

There is a website called “Farm Policy Facts” with information on interesting stats on agriculture. The site is www.farmpolicyfacts.org

Some of the stats from the website are:

21 million Americans produce, process and sell food and fiber.

U.S. farms and ranches spent $329 billion to produce $399 billion in goods in 2012.

America exported $136 billion in farm goods in 2011, with a $37 billion trade surplus.

Americans spend 10 percent of their incomes on food – the lowest of any country.

Spending on farm policy, including crop insurance, was down 20 percent over the past five years.

These policies account for 16 percent of Farm Bill funding, while nutrition programs account for 78 percent.

Traditional farm supports cost Americans 2 cents per meal, and account for less than one quarter of 1 percent of the federal budget.

If farm policy, including crop insurance were eliminated today, it would take 100 years to offset the 2012 federal budget deficit alone.

The world population will grow from 7 billion to 9 billion by 2050. Farmers will need to double food production by 2050 to keep pace.

To do the job, there’s a “thin green line” of only 210,000 full-time U.S. farms which produce 80 percent of our food and fiber.

These are not corporate farms. Virtually all are family enterprises braving exceptional risks and tight margins.

For every $1 spent on food, farmers receive less than 12 cents for the raw products.

Our county’s farmers have a long history of presidential support. Here are some quotes from presidents on farming:

“Our farmers deserve praise, not condemnation; and their efficiency should be cause for gratitude, not something for which they are penalized.” – John F. Kennedy.

“In no other country do so few people produce so much food, to feed so many, at such reasonable prices.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower.

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson.

And a favorite, from Eisenhower, “Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the cornfield.”

Mary Smallsreed is a member of Trumbull County Farm Bureau and grew up on a family dairy farm in northeast Ohio.